The 1960’s were a wild time in the United States. There was the Cold War going on in full force. There were problems with the populace pushing against the government and that government pushing back. Then there was this little thing called the space agency doing cool stuff. NASA was going to the moon with Apollo 11 and they were not going to let anything stop them. The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) was special not only because it was keeping the project, once it left Earth, on track but nearly 60 years later, the programming used on that trip was uploaded to Github.
Okay, if you are thinking this is C++ or Java programming, you are in for a surprise. This is nearly a completely different programming language not taught today. There are thousands of pages of it too.
The release of this code is nothing new. It was released in 2003 but it was only available via a retyped attempt by tech researcher Rob Burkey. Prior to that, Gary Neff a pilot out of Colorado uploaded scans (many of which were less than stellar quality). Burkey had to use his experience to recreate many of the sections of the code in hopes that he was right.
Burkey even went as far as building an AGC simulation.
Late last week, July 7th to be exact, a former NASA intern named Chris Garry uploaded the entire code collection to GitHub for anyone to enjoy, research and hack.
What people found in the code is amusing, wild and sometimes dangerous. This is an unprecedented chance at checking out what took the United States to the moon and back.
If you are curious about how it was done back in the day, when computers had less power than today’s digital watches, check out GitHub.